My grandmother has been in a nursing home for a while. Sometimes she’s doing well, sometimes not so well. Lately, however, has been worse and hospice was called in last week. The nursing home is about an hour and a half drive, and I knew there would be a good chance Grandmother wouldn’t know me, but I decided Monday night that I really needed to go, especially since it could be the last time I saw her alive. I called my sister to see if she could meet me. Although I didn’t want to take all of the kids with me (and possibly turn it into a stressful circus), I thought it would be important for the older three to go. Unfortunately, the younger ones really don’t remember Grandmother outside of the nursing home. First thing this morning I asked my sweet retired neighbors if the younger three (minus the baby, Lily) could stay with them. They took kids and car seats, and sent us on our way.

I made lots of phone calls during the hour and a half drive. I told my dad that we had removed the back seats from the van and would drive by his house after the nursing home, to pick up a couch we left in his basement last summer. I spoke with my sister multiple times with updates about our the traffic situation along our way. I called Rob, a friend who is one of my dad’s neighbors, to see if he could help us load the couch. I called my dad again and invited him to invite us to lunch (smooth, aren’t I?), and also chatted with my pal, Karen, who I had hoped could join us for lunch.

I didn’t know what to expect with Grandmother, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was sitting up in her wheelchair instead of in bed. She opened her eyes sometimes when we spoke to her, and even moved her mouth and tried to say something once. She visibly reacted when Lily would make baby sounds. I held Lily in front of her, her youngest granddaughter, whom she’ll never really know. I told her how much I loved her, and I reminisced about the past: her bizarre looking dog, Pugsley; Granddad’s dog, Gabby (Gabslab!); how my cousin, Blake, and I loved to pretend we had broken arms and Grandmother would use towels to tie them in homemade slings; a built-in hamper in my grandparents’ home that we used for hide-and-seek.

I may not visit with Grandmother again this side of heaven, but I’m thankful for the time that my kids, my sister, and I shared with her today. My dad accepted my invitation and took us all to lunch, and even our friend, Rob, rearranged his schedule and went, too. I made it home in time to get everyone situated before I left for the second night’s class in the childbirth education series I’m observing as part of the childbirth educator certification process. Afterward, I installed a mega piece of software which was kindly given to me today. I can hardly wait to play with it, but I’m saving it for tomorrow when I’m awake enough to know what I’m doing. Yes, it was a very full day…

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